Double-shower vs. Tub in a rental?

14 Replies

Hi BP, need a spot of advice for a bathroom reno in a duplex. Quick stats on the unit - 1920's structure, 1/1, approx 900 sf, projected rent $1650. 

The current bathroom layout isn't up to code so we're going to have to widen the room and shuffle the fixtures regardless, which got us on the tub vs shower question. It's the only bathroom in the unit, but is getting rid of the tub a bad idea? All the home reno forums say yes, but this isn't an SFR, it's a rental unit.

My opinion is we should keep the tub to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Husband argues that having the dual shower could be the wow factor that really sells the place to a prospective tenant. Either way we'll make it home-quality finish. Any thoughts?

Here's the current layout

Here's the planned layout

The tub appeals to people with young children.

I would keep the tub.

Agree with James Wise on first statement but not last. Yes, moms and dads need a bath but a 1/1 is not a family home it is at best a couples home. I would go with WOW shower for the couple or single.

shower, hands down.

I agree with your, if it's a two bedroom that's a different story. A single shower stall with a great glass enclosure will give you more appeal and modern design.

This post has been removed.

@Robert Nason , @Robert M. , @Don Meinke , @James Wise

Wow thanks all for the input. I'm actually glad to hear there's so much consensus on the shower, it certainly makes for an easier decision. 

One follow up - will that alter our stats to a .75 bath in the records? The only other concern was that it would reduce the value of the stats change, and we need to refi next year. We will permit the work so the city will know. 

I'll be a contrarian and say that there are some people that enjoy a bath and would not want to live in a place without a tub. I take baths occasionally when stiff and sore from a hard day of physical work. (maybe 5% to 8% of the time) So to me, if you only have 1 bathroom, I think keeping the tub would make the appeal broader since if someone only showers they can still do that but if someone only uses a tub they can't. Some older people grew up with baths and still use that. ie, my mother in law only ever uses a tub, never a shower. So do what you like but I think it would be a step backward. My wife agrees with this even though she NEVER takes a bath, only showers.

I only take showers and I only like showers but I think if you have 2 bathrooms one of them should have a tub.  There are people that prefer a tub and has has been said if there is a child,  mother's use the tub to bathe them.  Yes showers with the rimless edges look better then anything else and are a wow but you can't have everything

I have a one bedroom unit where a couple and their child live - good thing there's a tub and not just a shower. And my wife prefers to soak in the tub, so good thing I have a tub still at home. 

But I think you are changing things around without thinking about those windows. If you put a shower in where the windows are, you are just inviting trouble because of the water that will be hitting the window sills. And just closing off windows might not be the best idea. I think your original layout is probably basically acceptable; I would first switch the swing of the entry door so that it has hinges on the opposite side, still swinging inward but toward the tub; that allows for the light switch to be on the wall right next to the door opening where people expect it - with the existing swing the wall next to the door opening is in the tub and shower area and that is not good. 

Here is a good link that covers considerations in laying out a bathroom:

Originally posted by @Tatiana K.


One follow up - will that alter our stats to a .75 bath in the records? The only other concern was that it would reduce the value of the stats change, and we need to refi next year. We will permit the work so the city will know. 

I have two units that have 3/4 baths (no tub) in addition to them having a full bath; in my area both of those are in the property assessor records as two baths - whether your local assessor thinks the same is something to ask the local assessor. 

The 3/4 bath may still be a regional term but from my experience that went away about 20 years ago. ie, if there's a toilet/sink and shower and or tub it's a full bath. So nowadays I only see reference to full and half baths.

@Tatiana K.

I'm not sure what neighborhood demographic your rental would draw so only making an assumption with it being a 1/1 you'll more than likely have a bachelor/bachorlette or a couple living in the unit - I'd spring for the shower.

If  you had a more family oriented unit or your neighborhood will still draw families to a 1/1, stick with the tub.

If you haven't already thought through the maintenance/functionality issues - Steve raises some valid points about water around windows, proper ventilation etc.

My plan of attack for this project would be:

Keep the plumbing locations for the bath & toilet in the same locations and just push your sink back with the wall.  Moving the toilet and bath locations is a added expense you just don't need to do. Secondly it looks like you have two windows located on your exterior wall.  Showers/Tubs & windows are not friends.  You are asking for future mold and water issues and even if you where to frame in the windows you are going to need to re-insulate, blend the siding back in, paint, caulk etc. etc. Not worth it!

As for shower or tub? This is obliviously personal preference.  Things I would take into account is size . You can make more room for the toilet if you go with a smaller shower. I personally would go for a full height shower insert with separation wall.   Inserts are less aesthetically pleasing but there is no tiling needed!! and adding a nice shower glass door will dress it up nicely.   

Keep the tub. The shower only appeals to bachelors.

In addition some codes, depending on state I'm sure; won't allow you to consider it a full bath if you have a shower! So your unit will really be a 1/0.5. It would be considered a half bath since it doesn't have a tub.

Definitely keep the tub. Same reason you paint rooms with neutral colors-they appeal to the largest number of people.

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